Sammamish Mayor Christie Malchow and Councilmember Karen Moran both announced resignations this week, joining a growing list of leadership departures from the Eastside city.
Malchow, whose resignation is effective Monday, is leaving her position one-and-a-half years early. She was chosen as mayor in January; Sammamish City Council members choose a mayor and deputy mayor among themselves every two years. She was first elected to the City Council in 2015 and selected for a two-year mayoral term in 2018.
Malchow wrote in a letter to the City Council she is “burning the candle at both ends,” with serving on the council, wanting to be more present with her family and starting a new day job within the last year. She hasn’t been able to make several recent city events because of family obligations, she added.
“I’ve sacrificed being able to make my own health a priority, and in the wake of losing both my parents, my family and my ability to be involved more fully with my kids is no longer something I’m willing to put on a back burner for the Council,” she wrote.
Moran, whose resignation takes effect Wednesday, said frustrations with the current City Council and decisions made in the past month led her to resign. She was first elected to the council in 2017 and reelected in 2021; her second term would have ended in December 2025. She served as mayor in 2020 and 2021.
She cited the City Council’s vote this week to drop an appeal in ongoing litigation related to a partially developed area known as Town Center. The fight over Town Center dates back years and has become a debate about growth, development and income inequality in an area where the median single-family home sold last month for $1.5 million.
After the City Council adopted new traffic rules in 2019, former Mayor Don Gerend challenged those rules, arguing they were a tactic to block development. As that fight played out before a state hearings board, the city passed a series of development moratoriums (which it later lifted) and then appealed its case to the Washington State Court of Appeals.
Dropping that appeal clears a significant hurdle for the project, where developers plan to add 300 apartments and 48 town homes.
Moran and Malchow, along with Councilmember Kent Treen, were in the minority vote against dropping the appeal.
“It goes against everything I have argued for,” Moran said in an interview. “They have given it all away, and I can’t serve on a council that goes against everything I have fought for, for 30 years.”
This year, three City Council members — Malchow, Moran and Ken Gamblin — have resigned from their positions. Gamblin resigned in January.
Former City Manager Dave Rudat also departed his position this year, after the city chose to part ways — the third time the city had done so with a city manager in under four years. In 2021, the City Council hired legal counsel and authorized an investigation into allegations that Rudat mishandled confidential city information. An investigator wrote that Rudat “more likely” didn’t affirmatively disclose the information, but it couldn’t be ruled out, either. City officials haven’t publicly said why they chose to part ways with Rudat.
Seattle Times reporter Heidi Groover contributed to this report.